I bet you didn’t particularly expect to hear from me again. Mostly because you are largely fictional, given I am not sure anyone is actually subscribed to this blog. I can’t really blame you (or the lack of you?).
Anyway, I was very successful in the area of not drinking alcohol this year, but less successful in the area of writing about it. To recap:
Alcoholic drinks this year: 0
This is much better than I anticipated. I thought I might end up needing a beverage to calm my nerves in a social setting at some point, or that I would bow to some form of peer pressure.
In reality, I just spent less time than previous years in places where drinking was the norm. So that was was a successful strategy.
Since I didn’t keep up my end of the bargain in terms of writing about the experience, I figured I at least owned it to myself (and the three of you bored enough to click onto this post) to say something about how Sober ’17 went down.
This is going to sound like a humble brag, but it was much easier than I anticipated. I thought I would be yearning for a drink. I thought I would be smelling the scotch from friends’ glasses and drowning in drool. I thought the “one drink won’t hurt” mentality would kick in.
But I guess I was ready to really take on this challenge. And please understand that this was, in fact, a challenge. I am a Drinker. There was a time in my life when I could have eight pints of Belhaven Best after finishing a tour in Edinburgh and still find my way home, which seems excessive for a wee lass. I Enjoy Beverages. I love going to tastings, and trying new brews. I love when my best friend, who worked in liquor stores for most of her adult life until quite recently, experiments and serves me random cocktails.
So I gave up this vice for a set amount of time, mostly to prove to myself that I could. I mentioned at the start that this wasn’t for a medical reason. I wasn’t going to win a lottery if I stuck it out. I kind of assume that the 10-15lbs I lost over 2017 will come back in January, which seems extremely unfair, but I hate exercising and don’t really have the home space for one, nor the money for a gym membership, so I guess that’s just the risk I run by welcoming the intoxicating mix of barley, water, yeast, and hops back into my repertoire.
I knew I was going to make it through, for sure, around April. There was a stressful moment that would have been 1000 times easier if I just had a couple of beers and ignored the annoying humans causing me grief, but I didn’t tuck into the abundant supply. From there, it was just a matter of waiting out the clock.
Did people still try to get me to drink? Absolutely. No one was particularly malicious in their intent. There was no one trying to get me to slip up because it would be fun. My best friend offered delicious sounding beverages “in the event I changed my mind” but didn’t push it. She might be more excited for my return to drinking than I am, which is saying something consider I am planning to stay up past midnight just to have a glass of Almond Baileys before bed (vegan and lactose intolerant for the win). I think she misses her drinking buddy, and I get that. I miss freeloading off her seemingly endless supply that is so hospitable in sharing with me.
I traveled to Boston for the first time this February, and would have loved to try some east coast brews, but didn’t.
My birthday passed without a celebratory cocktail.
I didn’t indulge in any blended frozen concoctions in Anaheim, nor any spiked coffee treats in Seattle. I went to two family gatherings were booze was freely available, but stuck to water or juice or pop.
I went to a dear friend’s beautiful Summer wedding and was likely the only sober person wishing the drunk people would shut up at 4am when they all stumbled into the direction of the tents. By the way, if you are planning a wedding, and have a large enough space for it (for instance, you are out in farm land), having your guests camp after the festivities and then feeding them pancakes in the morning is extremely delightful.
I did have fun recounting things other people said when they were drunk, which was sort of reminiscent of my high school years as the designated driver. I didn’t start drinking until a couple weeks after my 19th birthday, which is the legal age in my province. I took pride in making sure others were safe in their shenanigans.
My parents visited at one point and we went to the pub. My dad got “I’m so proud of my kids” drunk and my mom got “now that you have a new hair cut I can tell you I hated the last one” drunk while I have virgin caesers. I put them in a cab back to their hotel and drove their car back to them in the morning (because I didn’t want to drive their rowdiness anywhere in the dark in an unfamiliar vehicle on the busy city streets), and enjoyed recounting their antics to them. I probably would have remembered these tidbits had I been drinking myself, since I’m not one to over drink, but regardless, it was a lot of fun.
I read so many books this year. Part of this has to do with listening to at least one audiobook per week, but in total, I finished 201 books, and since I am not used to a number this high, it seems sort of obnoxious at the same time as feeling like a major achievement. In the New Year, I have a feeling that drinking might cut into my reading time, but on the same note, I am looking forward to drinking booze in my weekly book baths again, instead of coffee or juice or water. Perhaps reading will cut into my drinking time.
One thing I am looking forward to with my return to drinking is the possibility of going out to more events. I know there are some fun theatre/karaoke/get adults together so they can make friends type of things in the city, but they tend to be in bars, and I didn’t want to be the only one not drinking. I already get singled out enough by just being an introvert or by having food allergies or by being vegan, so I didn’t want to add another reason for people to not relate to me. Besides, if I stayed at home, that was where the books were. And so many seasons of fantastic shows on Netflix.
But it will be nice to have the freedom to go out when the mood strikes me.
Come to think of it, I’m meeting a new friend this coming week, and we won’t be limited in where we can go that night based on my personal challenge. I never minded going to pubs this year, but it seemed to make other people uneasy that I wasn’t “allowed” to drink. I hate making other people uncomfortable.
Overall, it was a fun experiment. I found out I can do something if I am really set to do it, and can do it long term if it suits me. One of the reasons I didn’t write about it for most of the year was I was having trouble finding engaging topics for not doing an activity. I think that I really wanted to write was this conclusion to the project, and obviously I had to wait out the year for that time to come around.
If you have made it this far, congratulations and here’s to 2018. If you have any questions, I’ll be shocked but delighted to receive your message.
T-minus 2 hours and 4 minutes until I open that bottle of Almond Baileys, so I guess I better curl back up with my current book.